Saxophonist Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California. Drawing from the rich cultural and musical diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area, her musical education comes from many sources. Musical organizations that were a part of her nurturing include the Young Musicians Program, the Oaktown Jazz Workshop, the American Composers Forum Composers in the Schools Program, and the award-winning Berkeley High School Jazz program.
Through high school, Hitomi continued studies on saxophone, classical and jazz piano, and composition, while dabbling in flute and voice. She participated in several all-star ensembles on saxophone, including the national Grammy High School Jazz Ensemble, the SF All-stars High School Ensemble, Sam Rivers Residency Big Band, and most recently, the SF Young Composers Collective.
She has performed at various venues across the country and internationally, including at Yoshi’s Jazz Club, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Sapporo Jazz Festival, and the Umbria Jazz Festival. Among her awards of recognition are those in composition from the NFAA Talent Search, saxophone awards from numerous jazz festivals, and a Downbeat Student Music Award for Composition.
Hitomi completed her MA in June at the University of California at Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies from UCLA two years prior.
Her second album, “Negai”, was released in May 2008 under Japanese label M&I, to much critical acclaim, following the first album, “First Flight”. She performs her compositions regularly with her own group as well as with others in the U.S., Japan, and abroad.
“Negai” recieves Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Awards
New Star Award – Instrumental Division